Proposal for the new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 unveiled

The European Commission has put forward its proposal for the new European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 that will run over the period 2014-2020. The programme, which proposes a series of initiatives to boost investment in research and innovation, will represent an investment of 80 billion Euro. Facilitating access to finance, encouraging the participation of SMEs and reducing administrative burdens are some of the objectives set by Commission's proposal.

The proposal for the new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 is one of the key elements of the Union Flagship for Innovation presented by the Commission in October 2010. This set of initiatives and financial envelops aims to improve the competitiveness of European industry in terms of innovation and to regain its leading role in the global scope facing the increasing competition both from traditional powers and from new economies.

Horizon 2020 will be an important financial support for initiatives to promote research and innovation. 3.5 billion Euro will be allocated to facilitate lending by private financial institutions and to stimulate private investment in innovation. Around 6 billion Euro will also be invested in developing European industrial capabilities in Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) and funds allocated to Marie Curie actions to support researchers' training and mobility will be increased by 21%.

Financial support to be provided by the Horizon 2020 Programme to small and medium-sized companies will also highlight their key role in EU innovation. European SMEs will have access to 8.6 billion Euro specially reserved for such projects.

Under this new proposal, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (IET) will have a budget of 2.8 billion Euro for the period 2014-2020, that will enable to support the schemes launched by the EIT in the framework of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). Besides, the European Research Council (ERC) will increase its budget by 77% achieving 13.2 billion Euro.

More funding, a simpler structure and more openness to new participants

Horizon 2020 Programme will also benefit from a simpler structure that will allow better access to finance. Reimbursement methods will be simplified, a single point of access, as well as less paperwork and unnecessary checks and audits, are some of the measures to enhance the programme. The Commission also seeks to open up the Programme to more participants from across Europe and to explore possible synergies with funds under EU's Cohesion Policy.